Friday, January 30, 2009

Akhenaten? Obama?


(Click on image to enlarge)

Amenhotep IV – better known as Akhenaten was one of the most historically profound pharaohs to rule Egypt. He led Egypt in a direction that would tag him “The Heretic Pharaoh.” He brought forth new ideas mainly in religion and art that would leave a lasting impression on the world. Unlike most pharaohs, Akhenaten presented himself in a way that would lead to controversy and would shock the world of his contemporaries.

Similarities?

My wife, Rose, mentioned to me how similar in visual imagery and symbolism Barack Obama was to an Egyptian pharaoh. She said, “Amenhotep”, at the same time that I said, “Akhenaten.” We were both on the same page, a phenomenon that often occurs after 42 years of marriage. Amenhotep, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh who reigned about 3,500 years ago, was an agent of CHANGE. “He made some major, but rather short-lived changes to various aspects of ancient Egyptian culture, the most notable one[s] being his religious [governmental, and artistic] revolution.” Upon his ascent to the Egyptian throne, he changed his name from Amenhotep (meaning Amun is Satisfied) to Ahkenaten (meaning Effective Spirit of Aten). “Akhenaten ruled in the eighteenth dynasty, which seemed to be an age of revolution in ancient Egypt. Only a few reigns before his had been the reign of Hatshepsut, the most famous (but not the only) female pharaoh.”

Akhenaten represents many things to diverse people--to some he personifies a fanatical lunatic, to others, he comes across as a strange, eccentric young man whose behavior was strongly influenced by his mother. Was he a Christ-like visionary and a mentor of Moses? Did he simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and have nothing to do with the dramatic reformations that went on during his reign? “Many early historians, determined to link Akhenaten's religion somehow to the Jewish religion, said that he was inspired by Joseph or Moses (Redford, p. 4, 1984). This is a possibility, considering that Joseph, at least, was around in roughly the same time period as Akhenaten. However, after close examination of Akhenaten's religion, this hypothesis seems unlikely. Akhenaten's religion did center on one god, but his major emphasis was on the Aten's [the Sun] visibility, tangibility, and undeniable realness. Akhenaten placed no emphasis, therefore, on faith.

According to John Tuthill, a professor at the University of Guam, Akhenaten's reasons for his religious reform were political. By the time of Akhenaten's reign, the god Amon had risen to such a high status that the priests of Amon had become even more wealthy and powerful than the pharaohs.”-- by Megaera Lorenz.

Another similarity to Akhenaten is Obama’s open demonstration of his love for children. In the above stone relief, (a), Akhenaten, in a un-pharaoh-like depiction, is shown with Nefertiti and two of their daughters, as loving parents. He broke the conventions of Egyptian art by showing himself in intimate family scenes with his wife and children, and portraying himself and the rest of the royal family in a much more human and naturalistic manner than any of his predecessors had. Obama also demonstrates convincing affection for his children. No doubt, we could find more similarities between the two charismatic world leaders, such as Middle Eastern/Arab phenomena, etc. As Obama’s administration unfolds, let us hope that this “reincarnation” is not a history-repeating drama. After Akhenaten died, the opposition (the powerful priests of Amon) changed the Egyptian religion from the worship of Aten to that of Amon and the many local gods. They abandoned his newly built city of Amana, and tried to erase all evidence of Akhenaten from Egyptian history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Revelation 13:3-18 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

If any man has an ear, let him hear.

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." (666)